Welcome back comic fans! This month’s blog is actually going to add to the writerly advice this Poetics Project group tends to publish. In particular, this blog is going to be a “Beginner’s Guide” to breaking into the comic business as a writer, assuming that many of you out there are in fact writers. As I may have mentioned in earlier blogs, I want to write some comics/graphic novels myself and dove into researching various comic houses. Now I must admit that I am still learning some of the ins and outs of this business myself, but below are some of the factoids I have found thus far on my own. But first, some realities:
1) Being an aspiring comic writer is tough. It’s likely that you will never work for the big comic houses that are Marvel and DC, but it is possible to produce some work and eventually transfer over to their creative crew.
2) It’s also likely you will not get picked up as a solo writer. Not many houses accept unsolicited work. Furthermore, you will have more luck being hired by comic companies if you are a part of a creative crew. What these means is you need to know illustrators, inkers, colorists, letterer… so make those friendships now!
But not all hope is lost for the comic writer. Some comic companies do accept solo submissions, including the ever popular Dark Horse comic house! Depending on the company, various guidelines and rules must be met in order for you to submit your work. This can include a story synopsis, eight pages of an issue (either in script or illustrated), signed company slips, and so forth. Like any literary journal, you need to find a comic house that produces work in the same vein as your idea. Also like any literary journal, you will want to look at the guidelines and practices for big names and the independent names. Big names include: Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and Image while the independent companies are near endless. If you do come across a comic company that seems to match your aesthetic, but requires you to create your own comic team, do not get discouraged! Comic conventions are an excellent way to find other hopefuls and start networking.
In terms of my interests, I was drawn to Dark Horse Comics. Surprisingly, Dark Horse does not require a writer to create their own creative team and created their submission process to resemble that of literary agencies. To submit, I need to sign a submission agreement, create a complete synopsis of my story, and write a full script for an eight page issue. However, according to their submissions page, they will only contact authors the editor wishes to work with. This means I could be sitting for quite a while.
While this post isn’t representative of extensive knowledge about comic houses, I hope that it is a good starting point for those writers with immediate questions. I do have some comic-writer friends who I plan to interview to get more information, and I also plan on paying more attention to the way people pitch their work at conventions.
Lastly, if any comic junkies out there have additional information they wish to share with me, please do so in the comments. All help is appreciated!